That letter, addressed to Tesla director Antonio Gracias and first reported by Bloomberg, also argued that "a thoroughly independent board would provide a critical check on possible dysfunctional group dynamics, such as groupthink".
Soon after, Tesla announced that they were looking for new independent board members - though they claim that their search preceded the criticisms.
James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox and son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has joined the board of Tesla, after months of pressure from investors about the lack of independent directors on the electric vehicle company's board. "Their governance is unbelievable".
In April, the California State Teachers' Retirement System and four other investors wrote that directors at Tesla "should be held to a higher standard of independence given the conflicts of interest that permeate this board".
Tesla said its classified board structure is important to its long-term planning, and shareholders rejected the proposal.
Linda Johnson Rice is also CEO of Ebony Media Operations, and retains an emeritus chairman role at Ebony Media Holdings, the company which oversees both the EBONY and Jet brands, meaning both the new independent directors have media industry experience. James previously acted as News Corp's Europe and Asia CEO, too, prior to taking over leadership of 21st Century Fox, one of two spin-outs of the original News Corporation focused primarily on film and television.
Besides Mr. Musk, who is chairman, Tesla's board includes his brother; a former top executive for SolarCity Corp., where Mr. Musk has served as chairman; two longtime venture-capital investors in Tesla; a private-equity investor and a telecommunications executive. "James and his wife, Kathryn Murdoch, are founders of a family foundation, Quadrivium, which supports initiatives involving natural resources, science, civic life, childhood health, and equal opportunity".